To face down what she describes as one of the largest problems in our lifetime, Tessa Cook created OLIO, “a free app that connects neighbours with each other, and with local independent shops and cafes, so that surplus food can be shared not thrown away.”
Users simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO, where neighbours receive customised alerts and can request anything that takes their fancy. Pick-up then takes place at the home, the store, an OLIO Drop Box, or another agreed location.
Less than six months after launching, OLIO has been downloaded more than 50,000 times, meaning tens of thousands of items of food have been saved from landfills. Tessa is particularly proud of the 2,000 strong team of OLIO volunteers, who are helping to “spread the word about OLIO in their local community and kick-start thriving food sharing networks all over the UK, and indeed the world,” she says.
Tessa thinks that businesses have the potential to be a sustainable force for innovation and change, and will play an essential role as we seek to tackle the profound problems facing society today.
By coupling cutting-edge mobile technology with a strong community network, Tessa is helping curb a habit that: costs the average UK family £700 a year; is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions; and costs the government and local businesses £1 billion per annum in disposal costs. It’s a habit the UK has to kick.